Name in Japanese: ザ・タイガース, ざ たいがす
AKA: The Funnies, Sally & the Playboys
The Tigers were one of the biggest of the "group sounds" bands, and the launching pad for the career of the legendary entertainer Kenji Sawada. Their career path also makes an interesting study of entertainment management strategies. The history of The Tigers goes back to 1965's local music scene in Kyoto. In those days bands competed for slots playing at "jazz kissa" (jazz coffee shops, which despite the name featured music of various types, and also sometimes alcohol). The...read more
The Tigers were one of the biggest of the "group sounds" bands, and the launching pad for the career of the legendary entertainer Kenji Sawada. Their career path also makes an interesting study of entertainment management strategies. The history of The Tigers goes back to 1965's local music scene in Kyoto. In those days bands competed for slots playing at "jazz kissa" (jazz coffee shops, which despite the name featured music of various types, and also sometimes alcohol). The band Sally & the Playboys were part of this scene, playing mostly cover versions of popular tunes. The group consisted of Osami Kishibe (bass), nicknamed "Sally", Taro Morimoto (guitar), Katsumi Takahashi (lead guitar and vocals) and Minoru hitomi (drums). Sally & the Playboys took notice of the handsome, confident singer of another local band called The Thunders, one Kenji Sawada. They approached the singer about joining forces, and in 1966 they together became The Funnies. The Funnies were, however, far from wildly successful. They did not even all own their own instruments, and were still just playing locally. Their first big break was getting a gig in nearby Osaka at a jazz kissa called "Nanba Ichiban". In Osaka the Funnies were soon getting noticed, and amongst their early fans was singer Akiko Wada. Another person who was drawn to The Funnies was actor, and wannabe rock star Yuya Uchida. Uchida introduced them to the powerful Tokyo based production house/ management company, Watanabe Pro. Watanabe put them into training, part of which was playing as a backing band to Uchida when he appeared on stage, until they were ready for their professional debut. The song writer Koichi Sugiyama, who was soon to write a number of songs for them, gave them the new name of The Tigers. Their first single, in early 1967 was "Boku No Mary (My Mary)", a rather clichÃ© love song, which was heavily promoted but did not sell as well as hoped. Their second single, "Seaside Bound", aimed to be a summer hit. As a gimmick for their TV appearance, the band jumped back and forth sideways while playing the song, enthusiastically. The song in fact became a big hit. For their third single, management decided they needed a new gimmick, and decided to dress them up as medieval princes. This somewhat went with the song "Mona LiSA No Hohoemi (Mona LiSA's Smile)". Unlike most groups, all of the members of the Tigers sang. They also had cute nicknames, Sawada was Julie, Osami Kishibe was Sally, Minoru hitomi was Pea, and Katsumi Takahashi was Toppo, while Taro Morimoto was simply Taro. As with other idol groups, girls had favorites in the band, and while all had their fans, the pretty boy lead singer "Julie" received the lion's share of attention. The Tigers overall were given the image of sensitive, nice, clean-cut boys. They were more acceptable to TV producers, and less threatening than wilder, long-haired groups like The Spiders. However on November 7, 1967 at a Tigers concert given in Nara, rushing fans tumbled one after the other, and a number were injured. This became a black mark of sorts for the group, and planned TV appearances on NHK were pulled. In an effort to get back on track, in December their management had them play "The Tigers Charity Show". In January 1968 the Tigers came back with one of their biggest hits "Kimi Dake Ni Ai O (I Love Only You)". Wasting no time, the very next month they started filming the movie Sekai Wa Bokura O Matte Iru (The World Waits For Us), in which a princess from another planet falls in love with Sawada. Written into the film was a scene where the Tigers played their next single, "Hana No Kubikazari (Flower Necklace)", and Julie led the crowd in a sing-a-long, the filming for which was done at Tokyo's famed Budokan. By this time the Tigers were a hot item, and they began obtaining commercial tie-ups, amongst the higher profile ones a series of jingles for Meiji chocolates. However, by this time the group sounds boom was starting to lose some steam. Some critics felt that three chord type rock groups were on the way out, and that something more melodic and sophisticated was on the way, with Vanilla Fudge often cited as an example of the new, more complex music on the horizon. As a result Tigers songs started being more orchestrated, often with strings added. Also it seems the Tigers chose the Bee Gees as their role models, and added covers of Bee Gees songs to their sets. The fact that the Bee Gees were on the same label might have been an influence. Their next single however was C,C,C, the gimmick for which was a photo of Julie posed on the jacket as if saying a hushing "shhh". His extended finger also looked like a number one, which is where it landed in the Oricon charts. The band followed up their huge success with an outdoor show at Tokyo's Korakuen Stadium. Their seventh single was Double sided "Haikyo no Hata (White Dove)/ Hikari Aru Sekai (The Sparkling World)". The jacket was widely seen as copying a Buffalo Springfield cover, and the b-side was alleged by some to be a re-make of an Italian hit. The band also received some criticism for using outside writers and not penning their own material. In November 1968 they released a concept album called Human Renaissance, which attempted to go in a more classical and sophisticated direction, most of it not very rock at all. It was not well received, and some critics alleged that the members did not play the instrumental parts of the album. Things continued to spiral downward when on March 5, 1969, Toppo quit the band, reportedly fed up with playing puppet, and due to internal Friction amongst the members. However the band's management instead announced that Toppo had "disappeared", implying that perhaps he had been kidnapped. The truth however came out, and the management company was forced to apologize to the public for the ruse. Sally's brother Shiro Kishibe was brought in to replace Toppo. Shiro had been living in the States, had grown long hair, and was writing concert and album reviews for the then popular Japanese magazine Music Life. He was jetted back to Japan, given a haircut, and handed bass duties, despite not being able to play much. Rather than fake it on stage, Shiro took to playing tambourine and singing. Also with Shiro's influence, and management increasingly concerned that the matching suits style group sounds were on the way out, the band took on a more casual, stylish hippie look. In the summer of 1969 they also shot another movie, Hi London. The premise of the movie was that the Tigers were too busy to take a holiday, but by making a deal with the devil, they were allowed to go have fun in London (and of course somehow manage to cleverly get back to Japan). The Tigers recorded "Smile For Me", a song written for the movie by Maurice and Barry Gibb of the Bee Gees. The group also recorded while in London filming. The Tigers then attempted to cash in on the flower power movement, releasing songs like "Love Love Love" and the album Jiyu to Akogare to Yujo (Freedom, Hope & Friendship), but by 1970 the Tigers were clearly running out of gas. The band's last album was a live Double album entitled Sounds In Coliseum, which included a cover of Grand Funk Railroad's "Heartbreaker". After this, some members made solo albums or other did projects, and finally in January 1971 they officially disbanded, with a sayonara show called "Beautiful Concert" at Budokan. After the break-up, Sally and Julie were members of the short-lived supergroup P.Y.G. Following this, Julie became a very successful solo singer and actor, and remains very active. Sally, under his real name Ittoku Kishibe became a successful actor, and his brother Shiro a famous TV presenter and comic actor. Taro and Shiro both continued in music for awhile, but with moderate success. After the breakup of The Tigers in 1971 Minoru hitomi left the music industry altogether pursuing a career in academia and eventually receiving a Doctorate in Chinese Literature and has since become a published authority on the subject. hitomi has not participated with any of The Tigers reunions throughout the years. The group reunited in November 1981, made the album the Tigers 1982, and then went their separate ways again in 1983.collapse
The Tigers - Seaside Bound (ザ・タイガース - シーサイド・バウ ...
TomKei added self as a fan of The Tigers in January, 2010.
Modcineaste updated the group member "Kevin Kishibe" in November, 2009.
Modcineaste updated the profile for The Tigers in November, 2009.
Modcineaste added the video " YouTube - The Tigers Let me See You Baby 1st single B-Side GS Group Sounds Japan " in November, 2009.
Modcineaste added the video " YouTube - The Tigers My Mary 1st Single GS Group Sounds Japan " in November, 2009.
Artist page created by: Keith Cahoon
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